How This 22-Year-Old Transformed The Family Fruit Shake Business Into a Health and Wellness Phenomen
When businesses mature, it’s critical to start exploring new income streams to drive continuous growth. Arielle Escalona joined Fruit Magic in 2014 when she was just 22. Coming into a 27-year-old fruit shake family business, she set her sights on modernizing the brand and finding ways to stick to their core while tapping on newer health trends and the growing purchasing power of millennial.
To take the business to the next level, she worked with her dad, Dr. Alan Escalona, to create Pure Nectar—a cold-pressed juice business that incorporates franchising, retail and distributorship. Together, they’ve grown the business to over 300 outlets both locally and internationally.
Franchise Talk: Your family has been in the Fruit Shake business for over 20 years. Why did you start Pure Nectar?
Arielle Escalona: When I joined the family business under Fruit Magic in 2014, my only task was to revamp and enhance the marketing strategies of the company. As I immersed myself, I realized that there was a need to innovate alongside the changing behavior of consumers and buyers in malls where our kiosks were located. I learned that our previous business model had several inefficiencies that contributed to the decline of sales: we had high pilferage and our income stream was limited to store-level.
I learned through social media that there was a huge demand for quick and easy-to-deliver healthy products for the working millennials. Although the diet delivery companies were on the rise, there weren’t many companies that specialize in producing fruit and vegetable juices. I saw the potential, I pitched the idea to my father and the rest was history.
In a span of three months, I conceptualized Pure Nectar from the name, design, packaging and product offerings, to the overall sales and marketing strategy. We launched the product in five existing Fruit Magic stores in key areas, and carefully studied the response of the market.
Did you have any difficulties expanding the family business into a new category?
I believe that launching anything new, in general, is difficult and challenging for any business. It can spark interest and increase overall sales when it is done right and well, but it can also taint a brand’s reputation when executed poorly.
Because Fruit Magic has been serving almost the same products for over 20 years, we expected resistance from our customers.
It is challenging to change customer behavior when they are accustomed to a certain way of drinking their beverage. It was a risk, but I was determined. I collaborated with several medical professionals and nutritionists to help us create concoctions to fit the Filipino lifestyle and taste profile. My research and development team worked tirelessly to make sure all documentations, permits and studies were in place before launching.
I made sure I knew the product enough to be able to educate the market well. I even remember publishing my personal line and e-mail address to all our customers because I wanted to know their feedback firsthand. I received numerous comments and reactions—good and bad. I made sure I made time to read, understand and respond to each and every one while constantly altering our backend systems and operations along the way.
Did Pure Nectar cannibalize your Fruit Magic business?
In a way, yes. After carefully studying the market for over a year, we eventually shifted majority of the Fruit Magic kiosks to Pure Nectar when we saw that the cold-pressed juices were selling more than the conventional fruit shakes. At the end of the day, the best proof of concept will always be sales and profitability.
You have different franchise models for Pure Nectar, can you tell us more about them?
Pure Nectar provides a very unique business model with multiple wholesale and retail revenue streams. We manufacture and supply to distributors, franchisees, and multi-branch brand partners who in turn sell the juices to their clientele and customers at retail kiosks, restaurants, gyms, events, festivals, parties, conventions and even media launches.
Our fruit and vegetable cold-pressed juices are very versatile and flexible. Our brand partners can customize their juice offering from the fruit and veggie selections, concoctions, labels, and even pricing.
Some partners, moreover, opt to sell the Pure Nectar brand and its existing flavors rather than creating their own because of the brand recall. Apart from the franchise-distribution and B2B models, Pure Nectar also offers packages for franchising brick-and-mortar stores in key areas.
You’ve recently opened in Singapore and Brunei. Any tips to entrepreneurs on expanding internationally?
1. You must love your product. Passion will drive you to keep going despite the difficulties your business will inevitably come across. You must be open to change and innovation—no matter how difficult. Because I love the product so much so, I am very determined to make people love it as much as I do!
2. Consumers today are smart, informed, opinionated and are willing to share their thoughts, especially through social media. It is important to listen to them because they could be your greatest source of learning.
3. Find the right partners who are just as passionate as you are with your product. We are very lucky we came across a couple a few years back who loved our products dearly, and was willing to grow the business with us globally.
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As published in Esquire.com